LUKE SKYWALKER RETURNS TO THE GALAXY, FROM DECEMBER 15TH, 2017

ARRIVING IN LONDON, FROM 18TH NOVEMBER, 2016. BOOK NOW FOR THE ULTIMATE 'STAR WARS' EXHIBITION

Monday, 30 August 2010

ILM CLASSIC IMAGE: THE FIRST FALCON!


Here's a great shot you don't see often - the ILM constructed model of the Millennium Falcon as it originally looked, conceived by Colin Cantwell and refined by Ralph McQuarrie and Joe Johnston. This version of Han Solo's lovable and eccentric smuggling vessel - "the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy!" - would be scrapped by Lucas due to its familiarities with the Eagle Transporter craft then being shown on 1975 TV screens worldwide in the hit Gerry Anderson sci-fi show SPACE: 1999 (created by later TESB British effects man Brian Johnson), necessitating a design replacement that had to be done very quickly - though it would keep the already planned for UK set construction cockpit and the idea of the top and bottom gun placements - for what would be the vessel's ultimate, and best, visual appearance - the one that we know and admire today - by the end of the year and going into 1976. Meanwhile, the abandoned version of the Falcon would ultimately transform into the Rebel Blockade Runner model seen at the spectacular beginning of STAR WARS in 1977.

The big question I have about the original version of the Falcon model is, was any test footage of it filmed by ILM prior to its shelving? And, if so, might we see it one day?

With thanks to Chris Baker for the above image.

UPDATE: Fans of both STAR WARS and SPACE: 1999 have joined forces to create the ultimate hybrid craft in visual celebration of the two space series, the Millennium Eagle. Check it out in all its impressive visual glory here: sci-fi-air-show | Millennium Eagle

Sunday, 29 August 2010

READY FOR THEIR CLOSE - UPS! "STAR WARS" AND DON POST.

Special effects man Bob Short dons the Vader helmet for this shot.

Above and below are some specially shot 1977 test reference pictures taken by DON POST STUDIOS of the original STAR WARS 1976 filming masks loaned out to them by LUCASFILM (or THE STAR WARS CORPORATION, which was part of it) / FOX of Darth Vader, Chewbacca, an Imperial Stormtrooper and C-3PO that would be used as visual research information in the construction of their STAR WARS masks for general sale when the film hit the stratosphere at the box office (these images were sold by an eBay dealer a couple of years ago. The seller wanted, and probably got, his desired astronomical fee for them!).





Note how the Stuart Freeborn created Chewbacca mask has begun heavy deterioration after only a year since filming (Kay Freeborn told AFICIONADO that the suit was kept under lock and key by Lucas at that time. It would be re-used only for certain key reference (as seen in Dave Berry's ILM home movie footage), promotional photos and appearances)). At least two new Chewbacca costumes and masks would later be created for EMPIRE in 1978/79.

With thanks to Chris Baker for his help with the Stormtrooper image.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

CLASSIC IMAGE: DUEL OF THE FATES - THE SEQUEL!


I love this image (Kenobi and Vader fighting so intently, with the huge prop Millennium Falcon in the background), used in the pages of many a magazine of the day and even now. Its one of the earliest released stills shots and shows this by having Vader's lightsaber incorrectly blue instead of the usual demonic red. Why and how this error got through is unknown-it may have been due to time factors in the run up to the films release-Kurtz and Lucas must have been sooo busy trying to get the film completed, whilst FOX, pretty much oblivious to it all, probably didn't care and thought it had a turkey of a movie on its hands. It would be interesting to know which artist added the glow to the rod- not to blame them or anything, but just to know. It wouldn't have been Ralph McQuarrie, who also did airbrushing to selected images (adding blasts and lightsaber glows to certain posed shots, scene stills and effects images) - having been involved on STAR WARS since 1975 he would have been aware of the correct lightsaber colours. Most likely it was someone at that time in FOX's publicity department..

One thing I like to do where possible is show the image the way it was originally lensed by the stills cameraman. Many of the times this image has been used it has been cropped in too close (a major bug bear I have with some OFFICIALPIX images!)-so far in my picture research, this is the best I can get that shows more of the image - click on it to see it fully (if anyone can help with an even fuller version of this image please get in touch). I think it would be nice now if the official LUCASFILM Picture Archive, with the soon 35th Anniversary of STAR WARS, could go back to the original shot and do a new release with the blades at the correct colours, as well as keeping the original inconsistency frame.

Friday, 27 August 2010

ILM CLASSIC IMAGE: THE "LARGER WORLD" OF JOE JOHNSTON!


They say you can tell what a person is like by the state of their desk and general work area. With regards to the above image showing the incredible art of illustrator/designer and all round iconic visualist Joe Johnston (now a fine director in his own right) on the original STAR WARS and its two classic sequels, his individual area goes beyond anyones expectations and is a treasure trove of imagination, excitement and wonder. This photo is from 1976/77, when STAR WARS was in its post production genesis and shaping, and his wall is full of great and rare material, including the then unused TIE bomber (which would eventually appear in EMPIRE), unused or evolving art for the X-wing fighters, the Blockade Runner escape pod, the Millennium Falcon gun ports, the triangular classic unused (but used) Ralph McQuarrie emblem for the film when it was known as THE STAR WARS, and Johnston's T-shirt art for the X-wing that would be created for a rare T-shirt pressing for select cast and crew members then working on the film. By the wall there's the McQuarrie-like Darth Vader mask which we now know was built for a party at ILM (note the pic of Johnston dressed as Vader with John Dykstra). But, for me personally, the most intriguing item is located at the far left: a lovely piece of art showing Obi-Wan and Luke with the Death Star and a TIE fighter behind them veering upwards into space. Does anyone out there know if this artwork was actually by Johnston, or another equally talented artist, whose work seemingly never made it to fully authorised publicity use? Does anyone know the story behind its creation? Has this piece ever been released as merchandise-as a poster, as a TOPPS STAR WARS GALAXY card, or anything like that?

If anyone can help with more information, please get in touch.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

STAR WARS and SFX MAGAZINE: THE MIGHTY MILESTONES!

The classic cover to SFX magazine number 43, when the news was in that the Prequels were on their way...

The latest edition of the UK science fiction magazine SFX, which has just hit the world’s news-stands, is celebrating a major milestone with its 200th issue, and, amongst all kinds of film, TV, comics and media in its spotlight, they have a special feature basically asking the all-important question: “Where would we be without STAR WARS?”

Their companion website also has a cover gallery of all their issues where, if you click each cover, a one off feature comes up from that period. There’s some good STAR WARS related material hidden in there, so go and take the plunge and enjoy…


Here’s a taster of one of their older STAR WARS features:

CELEBRATION V: "IT'S NOT OVER YET!"


If, like me, you’re still suffering badly from Celebration V withdrawal symptoms, then here’s some of my favourite links from the four day event that will keep you cheered up.

THE MAIN EVENT talk:


Jon Stewart and CNN at Celebration:


Excellent STARWARS.COM/ fan FLICKR sets:



Tom Kane and James Arnold Taylor at THE CLONE WARS VOICE PANEL:


Ben Burtt and the SOUNDS OF STAR WARS


San Francisco Chronicle culture blog article:


One big mystery: LUCASFILM films the entire event for posterity yet only puts a few short clips up that last two or three minutes to cover each day. C’mon LUCASFILM, show some fuller length material!

Above pic: a multitude of Yoda ears for the creative team at the ROBOT CHICKEN panel.
Image: copyright LUCASFILM / CELEBRATION V / STARWARS.COM

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

LUKE AND THE LIGHTSABER: RESTORATION OF A JEDI!

ILM storyboard showing the Tatooine cave where Luke is about to place his lightsaber into the care of his trusted friend, Artoo Detoo.

The Thirtieth Anniversary of THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK was certainly the focus of this years Celebration V, but the deleted scene clip of Luke building his lightsaber from RETURN OF THE JEDI - the subject of much fan speculation over the last twenty seven years as to what was ultimately filmed for the sequence - almost single-handedly stole its thunder during its short duration play as part of George Lucas’s promotion of the upcoming STAR WARS films on Blu-ray.

Seeing the clip - the first old (but new) footage of the Classic Trilogy - was exhilarating stuff, and now, more than ever, I, alongside millions of other STAR WARS fans, are totally primed for the box set Blu-ray release of all six films next year. There has been some controversy, however, within fan circles, that this clip, which LUCASFILM last week said: “made it all the way to postproduction before it was cut, so it is a rare example of a cut scene with completed visual effects and music “, was not totally the real deal, and that it had been reconstructed from source material footage encompassing both JEDI and EMPIRE, with some CGI tailoring. Mark Hamill himself, a year ago, had also previously gone on record and denied filming that scene (though he also stated that an insert double could have been used for the shooting without his knowledge): http://www.originalprop.com/blog/2009/07/27/san-diego-comic-con-2009-short-video-interview-with-mark-hamill-return-of-the-jedi-lightsaber-lost-tatooine-cave-scene/

Whatever the ultimate truth is behind the deleted scene, of which debate will no doubt continue long after the films Blu-ray release, it was just wonderful to see it after all these years, and, as a special treat, RETURN OF THE JEDI’s producer Howard Kazanjian, who was the subject of an exclusive, and very thorough, AFICIONADO interview last year (if you haven’t previously seen it, check it out here: http://www.starwarsaficionado.com/howardkazanjianinterview.html ), has once more very kindly shared with us his behind the scenes information - this time on the newly shown footage - as we break it down scene by scene.



Jedi pic 1: Darth Vader (Dave Prowse) walks down a corridor of DEATH STAR 2.

It looks like this moment was taken from another cut scene from JEDI (mentioned in the 1983 MAKING OF RETURN OF THE JEDI paperback by John Phillip Peecher) - scene 70 - where Vader walks down a corridor to the elevator to the Emperor's Throne room and is stopped by Moff Jerjerrod (Michael Pennington) and the Emperor's Royal guards. The corridor set looks the same here as in existing still photographs of that scene, which was eliminated from the film in the editing stage during November 1982. Kazanjian: "I don't recall the look of this corridor but we did shoot the scene (of Vader, Jerjerrod and the guards) on 2/19/82 at Stage 6 of Elstree Studios."

An image exists of Darth Vader in the Second Death Star Docking Bay, with Stormtroopers behind him (presumably after his film opening talk with Moff Jerjerrod), which shows him looking upwards, of which a STARWARS.COM caption says: "Darth Vader pauses aboard the Second Death Star as he picks up a stirring in the Force"- is it possible that this image/scene of him walking through the docking bay was the original lead-in to Luke in the cave? There have also been persistent fan rumours over the years that, in the telepathic exchange, Vader warns Luke of the Emperor. "I've never heard this before and couldn't find it in any draft of the script. I don't think it true. Why would Vader do such a thing?"


Jedi pic 2: Vader (Prowse) enters an elevator.

Again, I think this is from that same cut scene 70 - his lone arrival in the Emperor's chamber is a deleted scene shown in one of the earliest JEDI trailers. "We shot several takes of Vader in and out of the elevator."




Jedi pics 3-5: Vader (voiced by James Earl Jones) is meditating in his chamber, using the Force to telepathically call out to Luke. He bends his head down and says: "Luke...Luke...join me in the Dark Side of the Force. My son, it is the only way. Luke...Luke...Luke."

This scene was comprised from out-take footage from EMPIRE- from the officially sanctioned Lucas books I've read there was no indication that Vader's chamber set was resurrected at ELSTREE for JEDI between Jan and April 1982. Some of the dialogue by Jones may have been culled from previous ADR dialogue sessions for EMPIRE, too. The official RCA re-issue of the almost complete JEDI score from 1997 has this to say for track 2 called TATOOINE RONDEZVOUS: "Vader uses the Force to contact his son, Luke Skywalker. The tone of the music changes with the appearance of a synthesizer and dissonant strings, which Williams uses to gracefully transform the setting to the desert planet Tatooine.”  

"Production or ILM did not build or shoot Vader's chamber for JEDI. That (footage) was a lift from EMPIRE. The Vader chamber scene was attached to the building of the lightsaber footage early in the original editing of JEDI. It was not something that George recently attached for the Blu-ray or Celebration V. The ADR of James Earl Jones voice would have been new and recorded for JEDI, not a sound lift from EMPIRE. I've checked early drafts of the script and cannot find, nor do I ever remember, Vader sending a telepathic message to Luke. That would be a crazy move on his part. 

We always planned on using (the Vader) footage from EMPIRE, as we did in one other sequence - scene 108 in the Death Star Control Room - where the controllers pull back on several switches ready to fire the laser. We just "flipped" this scene.

Just to clarify, ADR is not done to a completed picture. ADR is done in strips of film per scene that we think will be in the picture. This is done months before the final lock or negative cutting. Williams names the cuts. The soundtrack album is not always direct lifts from the soundtrack. Williams records many tracks for the album without viewing the film. Often times scored music does not quite work for an album."





Jedi pics 6-9. There's a circular wipe. In his Tatooine cave, a cloaked Luke, hearing Vader, finishes his building of the lightsaber and ignites the green blade.

Howard, was it (the saber) still blue in the original version, before Lucas changed his mind about the colour and had ILM rotoscope it green? One early trailer for JEDI shows Luke wielding the blue saber in battle on the skiff and Sail Barge).

"Trailers sometimes have scenes or shots, and may in this case had one color blade before any final decision is made. Remember, trailers come out months, sometimes six months, before the film. Music and information in a trailer can change. ILM did not do the lightsaber blade. It was farmed out to another special effects house. Eighty thousand frames had to be hand painted. Today, CGI makes that much more easier."

Prior to Celebration V’s announcement, and despite his returning to film a sequence in his X-wing fighter, and Vader’s burial, for JEDI at ILM/ SKYWALKER RANCH six months or so after principal photography had been originally completed, is it possible that Mark Hamill did not film this deleted scene? Is it possible that Mark was superimposed onto it? "There has been some question and rumors that Mark Hamill did not shoot the interior cave of the building of the lightsaber in post production at ILM. I was there. And I've never said he did." So, was the footage of Mark cgi’d into the deleted scene? "No. It was not digital. It was a human being (doubling for Luke), but not Mark."

"As a side note, Scene 132 in the script - the finale celebration - called for the "shimmering figures" of Ben Kenobi and Yoda only. I suggested to George that Vader (now Anakin) should be there as well."  



Jedi pics 10-11. With Threepio outside the cave, Luke prepares to insert the saber into Artoo (which we didn't see in the CV clip-it fades out with Luke reaching out to Artoo).

I'm assuming the Anthony Daniels background footage was superimposed from the Second Unit footage filmed at the end of 1982 at Death Valley? Superimposed is not quite the word. This was a matte shot. Hiro Narita was the DP, but Lucas was the director. The Death Valley shots were shot on December 11th, 1982 (Scene 5). The crew was ILM.  We had a very small crew. Richard Edlund shot the "glass shot" of the two droids walking towards Jabba's Palace. It was the only glass shot in the picture. Marquand and his editor (Sean Barton) had left before the picture was finished." Marquand had departed JEDI and was working on his next movie UNTIL SEPTEMBER (with Karen Allen), meaning that he wasn't available for the extra footage filming or the later editing after delivering his original directors cut of JEDI in 1982.   


Finally, as one further side note, the deleted scene clip doesn't use the ILM establishing matte of Luke's X-wing and the Millennium Falcon, which, I've read over the years, was a last minute addition to the ILM matte team's painting list, and was then scrapped after completion. There’s an additional storyboard image (above) linked to that unused matte shot from January 83. It looks like the cave entrance was to have been the black spot in the painting and that the part of the live action plate work with the droids that was filmed in December 82 was to have been superimposed onto it. Howard, I recall you telling me in your excellent interview last year: "The exterior entrance to the cave was shot at Death Valley at the same time we shot the establishing shot of C-3PO and R2-D2 walking towards Jabba's Palace."


"Yes. I have the storyboard. There are always storyboards that never make the cut. Cut being in the script or in the actual shooting. I've never seen this (matte) plate (shown above). I have no idea when and why it was made. It never appeared in the picture or rough cut. Why would Luke and Lando have their ships so close to Jabba's Palace when these characters were undercover - and a surprise to the audience when they appeared? The blacked out area on the left looks like it was never finished - whatever it might have been. I can only surmise ILM began this particular storyboard and George put a stop to it."

Howard, thank you once again for your invaluable time and your help.

UPDATE: 2014: Last year's THE MAKING OF RETURN OF THE JEDI book by J.W.Rinzler revealed images of Richard Marquand directing Mark Hamill (or a similar looking stand-in) as Luke for "The Tatooine Cave" scene, on a very small set built at ILM San Francisco, towards the end of 1982. Pics from the book below...



ILM CLASSIC IMAGE: A NEW CRAWL...


Here's a great shot of the original title crawl for STAR WARS-which was so lengthy that Lucas's friends at a private, incomplete screening of the movie in late '76/early '77 declared that it was too long and almost incomprehensible to follow. With help from an uncredited Brian DePalma, Lucas would create a new, shorter crawl replacement leading into the film which ILM would shoot in a new stairway to heaven/Flash Gordon intro style homage-becoming the classic and iconic opening which would serve through five more films after 1977.

Note the original unused logo for STAR WARS here, created by Joe Johnston.

CLASSIC IMAGE: EWOK DINNER!


Bad enough to be frozen in carbonite and suffer humiliation from Jabba the Hutt, but now Han Solo is about to have a fate worse than death, being cooked by those cuddly Ewoks as part of a banquet/feast honouring Threepio!! "I have a bad feeling about this!"

Will Han have enough breath in his lungs to put the fires out!

ILM CLASSIC SCENE: REBEL RETREAT!


Here's a great shot - a classic moment - of the Rebels retreating from the Hoth battlefield whilst General Veers' lead AT-AT Walker is about to destroy the power generators. This is a clever image but it also shows a mistake. The mistake is that the Rebels look like they are running away from the battle, and the Walker, but they are not. Look carefully, and, despite the rear explosion near a troopers leg, you'll see that they are running forward into battle- you can see the gun emplacements and some still dug in Rebels pointing their weapons the other way. Obviously, Lucas, Editor Paul Hirsch and ILM made the most out of existing live-action plate photography in post production, and one of the then unused angles from the battle - part of a sequence that had never been fully completed by the Second Unit, due to bad weather at Norway in early 1979. By doing this, they skilfully extended the action and created a whole new moment of tension and excitement.

ILM stop-motion reference track for the scene.

Amazingly, thirty years on, it was only whilst watching EMPIRE recently that I noticed this.

Very ingenious, eh?

CLASSIC IMAGE: DIANOGA ATTACK!


Luke almost becomes dinner for a tentacled beastie in this classic scene in the Death Star's trash compactor. Filmed in the UK's long hot summer of 1976 at ELSTREE, all of the principal actors had to wear diving suits under their costumes, whilst Chewbacca's fur began to smell very badly amongst the grunge. Mark Hamill also received a bad eye infection that lasted for a while, where he was unable to film certain close-up shots required in his to follow shooting of his X-wing fighter cockpit scenes. The Dianoga creature itself was not the original design-which was abandoned for looking terrible (do any still photos exist of it?)- and a solitary tentacle was created instead as a replacement. The creature was later embellished with a stop-motion eye, operated by Phil Tippett, in post-production.

Despite all the problems, though, the scene is still quite rightly regarded as a classic.

Monday, 23 August 2010

OPINION: WHAT HAPPENED TO RICK McCALLUM?

From 1995 to 2007 he's been one of STAR WARS great ambassadors-a funny and enthusiastic showman, a veritable master of hyperbole (in both good and bad ways), dedicated independent film-maker and loyal producer to George Lucas. So where is he? What's going on with him? At CV I suddenly realised that I haven't seen him anywhere since Celebration Europe, and that was back in 2007!

His work on STAR WARS (seemingly) over with regards to the films, the new live-action SW series stalled (for now) due to budget constraints, and RED TAILS, the epic World War II story of the Tuskegee airmen, apparently in drastic re-shoots, McCallum has certainly been keeping out of the fans radar, but now I think its time someone like the INSIDER tracked him down for a good long talk. With such a big involvement with LUCASFILM and STAR WARS and INDY (he was supposed to have been the fourth films producer at one point), a really detailed, candid interview with him about all his work on the Prequels (to really find out some stuff we haven't previously been aware of on their making) and for LUCASFILM-the highs and lows-and all the other things hes been working on since, would be very appealing to read.

Somebody let Rick out of the top-secret underground bunker at LUCASFILM!

DARTH VADER: SEVENTIES TV CELEBRITY!


DON POST MASKS staffer Kermit Eller was a very busy man playing the then ultimate persona of evil- Darth Vader - in the late seventies-officially partaking in everything from appearing on the hilariously bad DONNIE AND MARIE SHOW to opening BLOOMINGDALES department store with his own poster range (with a little artistic help from Ralph McQuarrie, I might add!).

I'm assuming the above image is from a US TV show appearance but, being in the UK, I have no idea which show it is, when it aired exactly (1977?), or who the celebrity is that Vader is posing with.

Can anyone out there in STAR WARS cyberspace help with any info?

UPDATE 4/9/2012. The STAR WARS ARCHIVE website had the following info for the above pic: Sept 4th 1977: Darth Vader helps Marty Allen host "The Wacko Saturday Morning Preview and Other Good Stuff", which aired at 8pm Thursday on the US Channel 7. It was a program looking at then new children's show for the fall. 

CLASSIC IMAGE: RETURN TO NABOO


Here's a nice shot from a partially deleted scene-I like those!! From EPISODE II, its the moment where Anakin and Padme return to Naboo and go to the Royal Palace at Theed for a conference with Queen Jamillia (just what happened to her between II and III. Not re-elected I presume? Thats politics!).

The sequence was filmed in beautiful Spain in the hot summer of 2000, and witnessed by thousands of screaming SW fans wanting cast and crew autographs, towards the end of ATTACK OF THE CLONES main bulk of Principal Photography.

CLASSIC IMAGE: BOBA ATTACK!


This is a great posed out-take shot of Boba Fett from 1978 (notice how his costume is slightly different to the way it looks in EMPIRE- in particular the gloves), photographed by legendary rock/pop photographer Bob Seidemann for LUCASFILM. Its unknown who's in the costume but in all likelihood its someone who worked at ILM during that period.

Boba was the undisputed visual star/lynch pin of Celebration V. Here's to a long future of captive pursuits for the character in all areas of STAR WARS continuing mythology.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

CELEBRATION V: GARY KURTZ


Legendary STAR WARS and EMPIRE Producer Gary Kurtz (pictured above with Mark Hamill and a dummy Yoda on the Dagobah set for the 1979 filming of EMPIRE) was one of the star guests of CV and his stories about the behind the scenes making of the films and working with the stars were very illuminating-he has a brilliant, razor sharp memory on the films- and always worth catching. I was unable to see his one-man talk (and if anyone attended it please get in touch and let me know what was discussed, so I can add it to the blog) but his panel on the making of EMPIRE alongside Jon Berg, Ben Burtt and Lorne Peterson was an enjoyable one.

Now, Kurtz, alongside longtime STAR WARS archivist Jason Joiner, has set up a new website that shows some of the collection that the two have assembled over the years-Joiner himself has many props from all three Classic films, whilst Kurtz, a superb photographer, has his own unique collection of behind the scenes materials which are often used at UK signing events for STAR WARS actors autographs, like the popular LONDON FILM AND COMIC CON and COLLECTORMANIA (also run by Joiner). This site is still in the early days but should prove interesting over time.

Here's the link: http://www.kurtzjoinerarchive.com/index.html

Kurtz was also interviewed by the LOS ANGELES TIMES prior to CV about his work on the two original films, the early plot line for JEDI, why he left the Saga (and working with George Lucas), and his opinions on the recent Prequels.

Here's the link:

We wish Gary and Jason all the best with their site, and that the formers upcoming film, PANZER 88-more news as and when we get it- is a big success.

Thanks to Chris Baker for the heads up on both these news items.

CELEBRATION V: THE ART OF RALPH McQUARRIE (UPDATE)


Whilst perusing the CV dealers area, I brought this lovely postcard with unused poster art from EMPIRE. The back information credits the art to Ralph McQuarrie. I've never seen this particular film evocative image before so I thought I'd post it. (23/8/2010 UPDATE: John Scoleri at DREAMS AND VISIONS PRESS has kindly sent me a note (see below comment) to say that this isn't Ralph's work, and that it was incorrectly credited. Anyone out there got any info on who may have done this fine piece? Perhaps Tom Jung?).

I hope anyone who went to CV had a chance to look at the terrific gallery of Ralph's superb artwork (which included rare trace element sheets of his SW art that Ralph had kept since 1975/76) and picked up the excellent accompanying book, plus the two high quality daily trading cards of him at work on EMPIRE (one available from the exhibition itself and the other from the DREAMS AND VISIONS PRESS dealer stand).

It wasn't just STAR WARS fans who regularly popped in to admire the gallery - George Lucas himself, always a fan of Ralph's work, gave it a look over on the Saturday am, prior to his THE MAIN EVENT appearance and the conventions opening, to look at many rare pieces he hadn't seen in years.

We all owe Ralph so much for the visual success of the Classic STAR WARS SAGA, and STAR WARS AFICIONADO sends him continued best wishes.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

CELEBRATION V: DICKEY BEER - DELETED SCENES ACTION MAN!

Han Solo walks into trouble, in this deleted scene action from RETURN OF THE JEDI.

One of the nice things about Celebrations is the chance to meet and get autographs from many of the people who worked in front of and behind the cameras of the STAR WARS films, and to find out more about them and their work. Dutch Stuntman and Second Unit director Dickey Beer is one of the most recent new signees in the STAR WARS world and I had the chance to talk to him about some of his work on the final classic STAR WARS film: RETURN OF THE JEDI.

Its well known that he played numerous roles for the film, mostly linked to Jabba's Court (including a Gamorrean Guard for the London Elstree filming, then, for the US filming, becoming an alien Barada, doubling for Boba Fett (for a part of his demise) and playing Luke on the skiff (at one point in the films editing Beer fights himself as both Luke and Boba!) during the exterior Sail Barge battle filmed in Yuma, Arizona- April 1982, and was one of the Rebel Commando squad members on Endor, plus an ILM filmed biker scout. But what you might not know is that he also played an Imperial Stormtrooper for a deleted action scene at ELSTREE, which we hope will be on the eventual Blu-ray. Getting into the Endor Bunker and reaching the shield control room wasn't as easy as it looked in the original cut of the movie, as Han and his commando squad literally walked into, and have to face off, with a squad of Stormtroopers. Beer recalls the scene started off with two Stormtroopers by a wall, which was obscured from Han and his party. Then the fireworks start and Beer's Stormtrooper, who was nearest to the wall, would be felled by an explosion. Beer doesn't recall the scene listed in the novelisation book where Chewbacca grabs a section of door and brings it down on the rest of the Stormtroopers (and I haven't seen any photo documentation for this, either), but does recall it was one of many sequences that he was involved in for JEDI that was cut. In location filming at the Redwoods, Beer, as well as being one of the Rebel commandos nearest Solo, Leia and Chewbacca when they are escorted out of the bunker (and seen below in this behind the scenes shot), would also be the Scout Walker captain shot by Leia when all hell breaks loose with the Ewoks surprise attack.

Beer takes a break on location in the California Redwood. May 1982.

Beer, who has also had the privilege to work with three James Bonds and battle Harrison Ford in a deleted scene from INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM (playing a Thugee guard who fights Indy on the sacrificial scaffold chamber (which previously housed Willie and lowered her into the volcanic pit), but Indy hits him with a long staff!), was an extremely pleasant and highly likeable person, and I look forward to seeing him again at future STAR WARS related events.

Jedi News - Latest: Jedi News Exclusive: Slave Leia Gave The Kiss Of Life To Jabba's Gamorrean Guard!

Above top image: Han - once again - walks into trouble in this deleted scene. With thanks to Lou Tambone from his STARWARZ.COM site.

CELEBRATION V: "EMPIRE" BOOK WATCH!


During Celebration V I was able to hang about the DEL REY books area-the home of the STAR WARS EXPANDED UNIVERSE and anything else STAR WARS related in the US territory-and managed to get a good visual look at J.W. Rinzler's upcoming, if much delayed, behind the scenes tome-THE MAKING OF THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. I wasn't able to get a chance to read any of it bar the odd caption (though the conventions lavish colour booklet had one of its excellent chapters-titled LUKE OF THE TUNDRA- within it), but I looked at every page- and I have to say that, on the strength of the visual material alone, this looks set to beat THE MAKING OF STAR WARS in terms of pure quality and information-and it helps that, from this film onwards, LUCASFILM pretty much kept all of their behind the scenes records intact. There was three times as many pictures-storyboards, photos, effects shots, pre-production art-in a well designed layout (by the author himself), and the detail was stunning. From memory, picture wise, there were lots of shots from the deleted Wampa battle in Echo Base, a look at an alien Dagobah creature that never made the finished film, and some intriguing images of the test hovercraft that were to have been be re-dressed and used in the Finse filmed snow battle which were ultimately abandoned.

The whole book looked absolutely incredible and I can't wait to read it and review it when its released worldwide (via DEL REY in the US and AURUM in the UK).

Friday, 20 August 2010

CELEBRATION V: "THE CLONE WARS" SEASON THREE NEWS...


With THE CLONE WARS then still under wraps, aside from some early art and a wow factor trailer, for the most part of the previous Celebration IV, the gloves were now off and the secrecy shackles removed from Dave Filoni for this years Celebration V, as he presented two spectacular digital screening panels to packed and eager audiences for the upcoming third season of THE CLONE WARS. Here's some of the great information I was able to glean from the event, on what looks set to be an absolutely fantastic new season of epic battles, grand heroics and truly evil deeds.


Please note, there are lots of spoilers below.

The opening episodes see a stunning attack on the clone facilities at Kamino by the Separatists, led by Asajj Ventress, in underwater attack ships (similar to the one that captured Rotta the Hutt's Tatooine Sail Barge from the Clone Wars movie) that literally latch themselves onto the Kaminoan cities and smash their way into the superstructures, unleashing destruction on a grand scale (including an incredible scene where the Clone vats are destroyed) and a new series of Super Battle Droids.


Several new Jedi faces will be added to the ranks, though one will be killed by a mysterious assassin or creature during the series run. Shaak Ti is also a new face to the series- the decision was taken to introduce her later in the run so that kids would not get her confused with the similar looking Ahsoka.


Its been hinted at by Filoni that the previously thought to be destroyed Slave One vessel of Boba Fett is in the hands of pirate Hondo Ohnaka, and is getting a refurbishment that will make the ship look a little closer in appearance to the way it will be in THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.


There will be a link/character from the Classic Trilogy appearing in Season Three (our money is on a teenage Han Solo, whose planned appearance was cut from EPISODE III).


The series may go beyond its planned five year run (Lucas and co. are currently working on Year Five as you read this), and looks set to run for as long as its popular with fans and audiences.


In a question I asked Filoni at one of the talks he confirmed that, with the advances in series CGI realisation (including rain and sea waves for Kamino, fire and costume material for the characters), we will one day see Wookiees and Kashyyyk in the series.

The action sequences have been amped up with better lighting and angles and a greater sense of realism now that the CGI has been improved and refined even further. Expect to see a lot more believability of movement and more shadows and reflections.


Count Dooku, in very stylish pyjamas no less!, will have a stunning lightsaber duel with a group of mostly invisible assassins-an idea that was conceived by Lucas (though it's initial concept did put a smile on Filoni's face at the thought of invisible people!) and looked superb in the footage shown at the event. Overall, there will be more of Dooku in this season and we'll also find out what the title crawl to EPISODE III meant when it said "There are heroes on both sides. Evil is everywhere."

Based on designs originally conceived by Ian McCaig for EPISODE ONE, the scarily drawn Sith Witches become reality, now known as the Witches of Dathomir, the home race of Asajj Ventress, revealed in Season Three. In the episode/s, Ventress is seemingly on the run from Dooku/Sidious and seeks refuge with her "family" on Dathomir, on a planet where the male and female races have evolved separately from one another. Its been hinted at that this season will be the last for Ventress's character-which is a bit of a shame.


From the new mega trailer (first shown exclusively at the CV event, and edited by one of Filoni's best friends, who now also works for LUCASFILM), the Duchess of Satine and the Mandalorians will return, as do the Toydarians, Aurra Sing, Clone Commander Wolf, Jabba and Ziro the Hutt (the latter, possibly along with Boba Fett (?), busted from prison on Coruscant and heralding the start of a Hutt clan war later in the season), Jar Jar Binks (once more voiced by Ahmed Best), plus General Grievous and Cad Bane (who gives Obi-Wan Kenobi an "electrifying" time in one lightsaber duel).


The big highlight for many though was the reveal of Darth Maul's brother, Savage Opres, who will become a regular enemy for the Jedi to fight this season- a gift from the Witches of Dathomir to Count Dooku.


The Clone Commandos also make a brief cameo in one episode, in a sequence shown at the convention that brought the house down with applause after years of waiting for a visual appearance somewhere in live action or animated Prequel-dom.

Katie Lucas has written quite a few episodes for this season, including the Ventress/Dathomir episodes and one coming up which will star the entire Lucas family as the blue skinned Papanoidia family, with George's Baron heavily involved in an action sequence in a cantina, though son Jett was unhappy that his animated character's gun wasn't as big as his dad's!

The Year Three mega trailer for THE CLONE WARS can be seen on the official STAR WARS site's main CELEBRATION V home page, and is coming to the US CARTOON NETWORK from September 17th 2010, and on SKY in the UK by at least the end of October this year. 

CELEBRATION V: STAND OUT MOMENTS OF MIRTH AND MADNESS!


STAR WARS AFICIONADO list its favourite moments of surprise, mirth and madness from the latest CELEBRATION event.

You know you're going to a STAR WARS convention when you travel down a highway named "Goldenrod Road"!

A fan asking Carrie Fisher to marry him during her autograph signing! She politely turned him down.

The shocked looks on the faces of the OFFICIALPIX's coupons booth staff as the sound of a huge STAR WARS sound effects explosion rocked the main hall- I still have no idea exactly where that sound came from!

A young fan trying to get Dave Filoni to reveal more about the new season of THE CLONE WARS and telling him, "Don't hide what's inside!" That line brought the house down and made Filoni a quivering wreck- so much so that he joked that the kids always asked the most difficult questions and that, from now on, like a theme park roller coaster ride, there should be a height requirement for anyone wanting to enter the questions area!

The STAR WARS commitment booth and speed dating areas. And the Slave Leia belly dancing lessons on the Digital Stage. Nuff said!

Mark Hamill returning back to the autograph line and stopping for a photo to be taken by some kids in the VIP line. Instead of just smiling, Hamill pulled a gurney face at them and made the kids laugh, saying "How's that for your profile picture!"

Lucas attending the RAIDERS OF THE LOST TEMPLE OF DOOM show at DISNEY FILM STUDIOS and lightsaber duelling with Mickey Mouse.

Myself getting lost in the empty convention centre at 12.30 at night after a digital film screening, but hearing James Arnold Taylor's soothing pre-recorded words as Obi-Wan over the tannoy system telling me where to go! Very surreal.

Ashley Eckstein being freaked out one late night (after all her hard work on her new clothes range) outside the convention centre car park-not by the sight of me and two other fans by her car wanting to talk and say hello to her, but by a large spider on her car door. She hates spiders!

James Arnold Taylor's brilliant vocal abilities tested to their whirling dervish limit, and to great crowd pleasing success, in THE CLONE WARS VOICE ACTORS PANEL.

Waving hello to Matthew Hood in the hotel lobby one evening and getting a return wave back! Guests there also included Peter Mayhew, Kyle Newman and Jaime King (who looked lovely wearing her silver sequined top at breakfast one morning, but almost blinded me with its brightness at the same time!). And I saw FAMILY GUY's Seth MacFarlane looking very cool and relaxed in the car park, too!

Kudos to the sweet little girl who, despite being totally overwhelmed, was able to ask her heart-throb, Matt Lanter, a question about Anakin Skywalker during the CLONE WARS VOICE ACTORS PANEL. Bless!

A fan in the main hall actually stopping me - this really happened, no lie!- and asking if I was an actor in a STAR WARS film! Believe me, I would have loved to have said, "Yes, I was. I played young Ben Kenobi!"

Above art: one of the jolly posters for Celebration V in Orlando, by Randy Martinez.

CELEBRATION V: THINGS WE LEARNED...


Originally, THE CLONE WARS Supervising Director Dave Filoni had planned that the previous 2003 and 2005 CARTOON NETWORK CLONE WARS animated character of Durge was to have returned and been a major enemy in Season One and Two, but instead George Lucas wanted to have a new and different villain, and introduced the cooler bounty hunter, Cad Bane, instead.

Filoni has prepared a time line for the events of THE CLONE WARS, incorporating events from the previous CARTOON NETWORK animated seasons, which will eventually be released to fans.

THE CLONE WARS voice actors were often very surprised at some of the things they signed for fans at CV. There were limited edition cast and crew pieces handed to them that they had actually never received or knew of, and that they now really wanted to have! Some members of the cast had not even seen the UK theatrical release posters for the one and only (at least so far) animated movie! Additionally, all of the actors love their characters, and some would love to contribute more dialogue and story material for the series, but at the end of the day its Lucas's universe and he decides the ultimate direction of story and characters in the lead up to events in EPISODE III.

Ben Burtt worked on the sound design for the original ALIEN, directed by Ridley Scott. He recalled that he met Scott in a limo one late night in Los Angeles-it was the only time the two could meet then-to discuss the creation of a terrifying and highly disturbing noise for the alien space ships distress call which is picked up by the human crew of the Nostromo. At the end of the day, despite lots of work, the sound effect was not considered successful by either Burtt or Ridley Scott and, by that time of its completion, the scene where the transmission is played would be cut from the film (though the completed sequence is on the deleted scenes of the DVD release, and I personally think its a pretty good sound!).

The "Wilhelm" scream, as far as Ben Burtt can track it down, may have come from an actor from an old-time WARNER BROTHERS adventure film, whose character is attacked and eaten by an Alligator.

As has been previously established, the sound of the Garindan snitch at Mos Eisley for STAR WARS was the voice of John Wayne speeded up. At the time in 1976, Ben Burtt had access to a movie studio sound vault and managed to sneak his voice from one of these films into the first movie.

When Sound Designer Matthew Wood had completed his work on REVENGE OF THE SITH, Lucas and Producer Rick McCallum asked him to stay on with his STAR WARS duties for what was originally planned as eight test episodes of what would become STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS.

Carrie Fisher revealed that her Bounty Hunter characters of Boushh had no name when she was filming JEDI. In all likelihood the name was given for the PALITOY/KENNER toy figure release in 1983.

Apart from the white droid later known as CZ-3, Anthony Daniels did not play any other background droids in the original STAR WARS filming of 1976.

Ben Burtt revealed that the sound of the Talz creature heard in the Mos Eisley cantina for STAR WARS was originally planned for the treadwell droid that breaks down in the first introduction to Luke Skywalker, in the Tatooine desert, for STAR WARS.

At THE MAIN EVENT, Lucas confirmed that Darth Sidious did indeed kill his master Darth Plagueis prior to the events of EPISODE ONE, which the character, as ever brilliantly played by Ian McDiarmid, alluded to Anakin Skywalker during the opera scene of REVENGE OF THE SITH.

The title of THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK was thought up by Gary Kurtz during an Italian press conference for STAR WARS. He told the press then that STAR WARS II would have a B-movie esque- title in homage to that genre, and THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK simply rolled out of his mind. The title stuck-at the time, Ben Burtt was surprised at the choice.

The most difficult sound design that Ben Burtt ever undertook for any of the STAR WARS films is still Artoo Detoo-due to the worries in providing a unique sound effects voice for the character that audiences would be able to relate to. It was a task that took a long time-over six months-to achieve successfully. He still has many sound effects recorded for the original STAR WARS from 1976/77 that haven't been used, that are in his personal archives and at LUCASFILM, which may one day be used elsewhere.

Presumably due to Anthony Daniels not being available for a short period, Tom Kane was the voice of Threepio for a little bit of one of the episodes of the CARTOON NETWORK animated micro-series in 2003.

John Morton (who played Rebel pilot Dack and, for one scene only, Boba Fett in EMPIRE) no longer acts-instead he works in a position of organisational work linked to US Homeland Security. He still visits the UK from time to time and is a keen sports rowing expert and aficionado. He worked on EMPIRE for several months at ELSTREE (including the scene of the assembled pilots seen with Princess Leia in the hangar bay) and enjoyed it. His filming work was done in between bouts of shooting for SUPERMAN II-where he played the US Astronaut inside the Earth lunar vehicle destroyed by the Kryptonian super villains-of which the first batch was shot by director Richard Donner, and the next, a year later, was by replacement director Richard Lester.

Talking to dealers at the event, it looks like there will be very little merchandise or celebrations for STAR WARS Thirty-fifth anniversary in 2012, with the next Celebration geared for THE CLONE WARS and, most likely, the Thirtieth Anniversary of RETURN OF THE JEDI in 2013.

CELEBRATION V: CHEERS and JEERS!

Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill make guest appearances at George Lucas's THE MAIN EVENT talk. Image: STARWARS.COM

And so the pilgrimage began again, as 40,000 STAR WARS fans across the world travelled to LUCASFILM's version of Mecca in Orlando, Florida, for the biggest, greatest STAR WARS Celebration  convention of them all, honouring the upcoming third season of THE CLONE WARS and the Thirtieth Anniversary of the much beloved THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.

The very fine line between severe commercial over-exploitation and creative fulfilment, combined with personal and professional enjoyment delivered to the fans by LUCASFILM (working in tandem with its many affiliates) was just about kept in balance over the four days, thanks primarily to the warmth and camaraderie shown by the actors and creative personnel from THE CLONE WARS, alongside the charm and mighty presences of George Lucas and Original Trilogy veterans Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher (pictured above at THE MAIN EVENT talk).


Overall, the event was great fun. Though despite many STAR WARS related pleasures personally achieved to my great satisfaction at CV, there was still so much to see and do that I was very much aware, as from previous Celebration experiences, that I couldn't possibly see and witness everything, and yet I really wanted to!! With these feelings of need running rampant in my mind, do these Celebrations actually have the power to turn me over to the Dark Side in my quest and power lust for everything convention-related??!!
Will I be the next Anakin Skywalker, and will my next generation be the only chance of redeeming me? "Noooooooo!"

As usual, here are my convention cheers and jeers...

Thats no moon, its a space station balloon! All CV images: Curtis Reynolds.

CHEERS to the ORANGE COUNTY CONVENTION CENTRE-an excellent venue to host Celebration V. And CHEERS to LUCASFILM and REED for a mostly well organised and efficiently run event, far bigger than ever before. But JEERS to LUCASFILM and REED for deliberately placing the event in the middle of the August holiday tourist season, so as to make, in the nicest way possible, maximum profit and exploitation of both the fans and the holiday makers (who would go to the event for a day or two with their families out of interest and curiosity). And JEERS to them for putting it in August in 107 degrees heat every day when most of the fans didn't have cars and had to walk everywhere. So far, I have five painful blisters and am still suffering from heat exhaustion! Next time its in Florida, in the interest of STAR WARS fans health and happiness, please don't put it on in Summer!

JEERS to DISNEY for their greedy and sneakily raised theme park admission prices the week before CV started. They knew we'd all want to see the INDY STUNT SHOW and STAR TOURS one last time, and we had to pay even more for that privilege!

CHEERS to George Lucas and Jon Stewart for THE MAIN EVENT talk. Despite die-hard fans listening to, and being upset, by what they believed was history re-visionism being discussed by the STAR WARS creator, it was nice to see George Lucas look so relaxed and at peace with both the audience and his STAR WARS universe during the one hour talk (which also basically acted as a blatant plug, in a crowd pleasing way, for THE CLONE WARS and the Blu-rays!).

CHEERS to Jon Stewart for proving that he is a knowledgeable STAR WARS fan and knew his stuff! I hope he enjoys his personalised HASBRO Stormtrooper figure, whether it has a bearded face or not!

Republic Commandos at the Endor Bunker recreation!

CHEERS for the incredible digital projection screenings of the six STAR WARS films. Of the films I saw, ATTACK OF THE CLONES was the stand-out visually in its pure digital state, whilst STAR WARS, EMPIRE and JEDI's LOWRY 2004 re-mastered copies looked superb on the big screen. Why, oh why, are these films not being shown on the big screen worldwide more often. The screenings were all pretty busy audience wise, especially EMPIRE, whose anniversary screening was a fitting tribute.

JEERS for the digital projection screening of THE PHANTOM MENACE. The projector/copy screening continually broke down, and numerous times STARWARS.COM's Pablo Hidalgo had to come into the audience and entertain the crowds whilst the faults were being sorted out. Hidalgo did a good job, and the crowds were happy if a little frustrated, but when it broke down one further time, a new copy of the film, which wasn't quite as good-and certainly bit darker in picture quality places- worked fine. One thing's for sure, when released on Blu-ray, the extended DVD release version of THE PHANTOM MENACE, with its new cgi Yoda scenes, will need a lot of re-mastering work picture-wise to get it in line with the digital visual beauty of ATTACK and SITH.

JEERS to the STAR WARS fans who nastily booed the inclusion of Hayden Christensen's face over Sebastian Shaw's body as Anakin at the end of the revised 2004 DVD print of JEDI, which was shown in the Digital Theatre. Poor old Hayden doesn't deserve that. Whether we like it or not, in all likelihood this version of JEDI is the one we're all going to have to live with for the upcoming Blu-ray release!

AFICIONADO contributor Curtis Reynolds mingles with the Slave Leia's. Its a tough job, but somebody's gotta do it!

CHEERS to Anthony Daniels and Jay Laga'aia for coming into the immense fan entry lines and saying hello on Day Two of the event.

JEERS to Anthony Daniels for periods of unpleasantness and superior aloofness he showed to some of the American fans that lined up to meet him inside his autograph tent. Though he was entertaining and informative with/to the fans in his talk and in walking the convention floor, his treatment of some of them in his little signing arena was just plain rude at times, and it upset me as a fellow Brit.

A brilliant General Grievous fan costume.
CHEERS to Dave Filoni for all his work in the talks and panels. I'm totally jealous of his position as Supervising Director of THE CLONE WARS but that doesn't hinder my beliefs that he is the best man for the job-the perfect hybrid of fan and creative talent that helps George Lucas bring the series to life. You couldn't get a better champion for the saga and its viewers and he was terrific to hear and see out and about, full of wit and good humour, and a love of STAR WARS that helps give the behind the scenes of LUCASFILM, often feeling to me as being too cold and shut off in secrecy, a bit more of a human face.

CHEERS to Mark Hamill for signing nearly 3,000 autographs at the event. Yep, his autograph price was very steep at $125 but when you see him and the way he's sooo nice to the fans, especially the younger ones who, like us adults, are in awe of him as Luke Skywalker, then you realize that he's actually worthy of the price tag.

A great recreation of the Rebel's Echo Base command centre.

CHEERS again to Mark Hamill for telling off, in a vocally strong way, the behind the scenes people running his one hour talk (this will probably be his one and only fan Celebration appearance and yet he's on stage for just one hour! C'mon schedulers, it should have been two!) for putting on a lengthy clip, without his foreknowledge or prior permission, from his 1980 appearance of THE MUPPETT SHOW that reduced his time to converse with the fans who were eager to ask him questions. Well done, Mark!

CHEERS, and our best wishes, to Robert Watts, who, as ever, was a superb guest and had lots to say about the making of the STAR WARS and INDY films. Sadly, I was informed that he fell and hurt his head towards the end of the event, resulting in his having to be rushed to hospital. We really hope he's okay and that he's on the mend quickly.

The enjoyable MASTERS OF THE EMPIRE Panel.
CHEERS for the EMPIRE panel talk with Gary Kurtz, Ben Burtt, Lorne Peterson and Jon Berg. A very nice hour of behind the scenes recollections, with Kurtz's behind the scenes memories as invaluable as ever.

More of those Mandalorian troopers hit the dealers room!

CHEERS to the fan costume makers for braving the painful, tiring heat to wear their incredible STAR WARS outfits throughout the event, like the incredible Bossk, Cad Bane, Power Droid, the excellent children dressed as Jawas, and, of particular note, the little girl dressed as a pre-cyborg General Grievous.

CHEERS to Irvin Kershner, Lawrence Kasdan and John Williams for their heart warming video messages of support and best wishes to the fans during Celebration V.

CHEERS to HASBRO for their great life size Boba Fett action figure card which you could go into the plastic hold section and have your picture taken inside. Their new 12 inch figures line based on the original classic figures, especially the 1978 Fett, are quite superb.

JEERS to Carrie Fisher for cancelling her talk on the last day of the convention but also CHEERS for her in doing this, as it meant that THE MAIN EVENT could be re-screened for all those people, like myself, who weren't able to see it the first time. And DOUBLE CHEERS for Carrie for coming out onto the stage for ten minutes, alongside Jay Laga'aia, for a standing ovation introduction and quick chat with the fans.

Take a little break with Jabba and friends!

CHEERS to Ben Burtt for his excellent talk with Pablo Hidalgo for the SOUNDS OF STAR WARS book, which Burtt has co-written with J.W. Rinzler. The talk had many great sounds heard and Ben, one of STAR WARS best and longest running behind the scenes talents and raconteurs, had lots of stories to tell. He also does a great Sylvester Stallone impression. Why has it taken five Celebration's to get Burtt as a guest!!

Did anyone out there go to the Burtt/Matthew Wood talk on the last day? Can anyone confirm whether Burtt showed his RETURN OF THE JEDI home movies footage from 1983? If anyone saw it can they PLEASE get in touch and describe the footage?


CHEERS to the incredibly talented artists in the Art Gallery-the quality of the work, especially linked to EMPIRE, was incredible this year-I just wish that I'd had some spending money to buy a piece!

JEERS to the organisers of the Art Gallery for their incredible short sightedness and lack of organisational ability on the first day. The lines were horrendous, the fans very unhappy and the artists must surely have lost some of their livelihood sales-wise that day.

Darth Vader - Ralph McQuarrie style!
CHEERS to the 501st for their superb fan costumes and props area, and to the always impressive R2 rooms. And kudos to the German 501st for their incredible TIE Interceptor craft-worthy of anything built for the Classic Trilogy back in the day at ELSTREE. Brilliant stuff!

CHEERS to the people behind the Echo Base Ice Bar- great idea, and I loved that Wampa statue!

JEERS to REED and LUCASFILM for the greedy idea of extra profit making VIP passes. This was unfair-all STAR WARS fans should be treated equally and I didn't like having four people in the VIP line walk in front of me for an autograph after I've waited for an hour. My blood was seething numerous times watching these very opportunistic fans at work, many of whom would have lots of autographs and posters to sign and would hold up the regular line in stopping people from getting autographs. VIP passes are for amusement parks and airplane travel not Celebrations!

The incredible German 501st built TIE Interceptor.

JEERS to the autograph dealer who blocked the Jon Berg line and had the ex-ILMer sign nearly 200 autographs which held up regular STAR WARS fans -y'know those regular fans who wanted an autograph for their own collection and not for profiteering!- for up to an hour and a half! These dealers should do their signing sessions after the show and liaise with the autographer and the exhibition organisers beforehand. In the end, with the added nuisance of the VIPs butting in, I didn't get an autograph when I had to leave the line, and MAJOR JEERS to the steward handling the line who stopped me from coming back into the capped line even though I'd already waited quite a while and had been chatting to him previously. Not fair!

JEERS to OFFICIALPIX for having a lousily organised sales area for their generic photos. No one seemed to know what was in stock, many new and great rare images were in (probably deliberate) too short supply, images that were in the catalogue were not available, and some members of their hired-in staff had clearly not watched a STAR WARS film or knew its characters at all! Not a great situation when you're dealing with hundreds of fans who do know the characters and know what they want to buy! In all four days I never once saw manager Ben Stevens on the floor talking to the people who buy the images, and I was at the OFFICIALPIX area a lot over the four days!

The Empire strikes back at CV!
JEERS to the over-priced food and liquids provided at the event by the convention centre. $2.75 for a packet of crisps!! Really over-priced for maximum profit.

CHEERS to the Celebration Store for its efficient organisation and layout.

He may not be my favourite event host, but CHEERS to Jay Laga'aia- Captain Typho himself!- for being an all round nice guy and great supporter of all things STAR WARS. And it was very cool seeing him as the leader of the 501st Stormtroopers at the start of THE MAIN EVENT!

CHEERS to all the members of THE CLONE WARS voice cast for being so nice and accommodating during every part of the convention. BIG CHEERS to James Arnold Taylor for being such a nice guy, enthusiastic and committed to STAR WARS, and for giving me a couple of lines as Obi-Wan Kenobi during my autograph chat.

Is Curtis the Rebel's New Hope?

CHEERS to all the really nice people I met in and outside of the convention-of all ages and walks of life- whose love of STAR WARS remains undiminished. Special hello to Mike and the gang at the VOICE OF THE REPUBLIC podcast and blog-a fresh and funny new look at STAR WARS that's well worth a look.

CHEERS to the panel of WHY WE LOVE THE PREQUELS, and especially FANBOYS Kyle Newman, alongside James Arnold Taylor and a late arriving Dave Filoni, who gave some very valid and nicely presented reasons and arguments as to why we should like and appreciate these Prequel films more-that they can't just be summarily dismissed because of a few scenes or characters that die-hard fans don't like. It was nice to see so much good reaction from the packed audience, and things being said that were similar to my own comments in the recent STAR WARS AFICIONADO "THE PHANTOM MENACE" TENTH ANNIVERSARY tribute edition (its still available on PDF if you're interested!).

JEERS to George Lucas and LUCASFILM for not allowing Dave Prowse to attend Celebration V. He may not be popular at Camp Lucas, but how could you not have the man who played Darth Vader at an event celebrating THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK-Vader's greatest film! And JEERS to OFFICIALPIX for having so few Vader images from any of the films at their booth. One of the Stewards there told me they had been told not to sell Vader pics by LUCASFILM!

CHEERS to the Belgium STAR WARS fans for their incredible TIE fighter prop and the Millennium Falcon hold, and to all those other great talents behind the numerous terrific fan props situated across the entire event.

CHEERS to all the builders of the Hoth dioramas. Splendid work, people!

CHEERS to LUCASFILM for that surprise showing of the deleted scene RETURN OF THE JEDI clip. Awesome and incredible! The world is anxious for those Blu-rays even more!

And so, the teaser video announcement has now come onto STARWARS.COM revealing that Celebration VI will be happening- date as yet unrevealed. Further vindication, as if proof was ever really necessary, that the Force, STAR WARS fandom, and merchandise profit growth, is stronger than ever!
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